Ryan PowellRyan Powell


Room number: D11d
Telephone (internal): 26182
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6182
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 6182
Email: r.s.powell@sheffield.ac.uk


I joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in September 2016 as Reader in Urban Studies and I am the Department’s Director of Research. Prior to joining USP I worked for 14 years at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University. I was awarded a BA in Economics and Public Policy from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2002 and I subsequently studied part-time for an MA in Human Geography (distinction) at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2006.

My academic background and orientation is multidisciplinary and cuts across urban studies, sociology, geography and politics, but my research is focused on urban marginality. I have always worked in a genuinely interdisciplinary environment and benefited greatly from exposure to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. I have worked on studies for the ESRC, JRF, the Big Lottery Fund, DWP, CLG, Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, regional bodies, and various local authorities and charitable organisations.

I am a member of the Management Board of the international journal Housing Studies and Co-Editor of the international journal Human Figurations: Long-term Perspectives on the Human Condition. I am also a Fellow of the Norbert Elias Foundation.

I welcome enquiries from research students but am particularly interested in supervising research in the following broad areas: Gypsy-Traveller and Roma stigmatisation and marginalisation; housing and inequalities; youth transitions, unemployment and mental health; the government of marginality.


The central theme of my research is seeking to combine empiricism and theory in understanding the socio-dynamics of unequal power relations and their consequences in terms of urban marginalisation, both contemporary and historical. This includes access to housing and employment as well as wider questions of citizenship, urbanization, and the stigmatisation of "outsider" groups.

This reflects a commitment to striving for an objective understanding of the development of contemporary urban societies and their unequal outcomes, alongside an explicit engagement with public policy and the challenges it faces. By extension, this often entails the exposure of policy "myths" and critique of the inadequacy of current conceptualisations. A distinguishing aspect of my research is sensitivity to a long-term perspective in terms of capturing the dynamic and intergenerational development of human societies and the cities they produce.

Presently I am developing research in the areas of youth transitions and intergenerational dynamics, Roma stigmatisation, and housing in a global perspective.

Current and recent research projects


My Teaching is informed by my empirical research, social theory and is also policy-oriented. My primary teaching focus is on urban marginality, housing issues and the challenges facing cities in the contemporary period.

I teach on the following modules:

  • TRP111, Cities
  • TRP130, Housing, Home and Neighbourhood
  • TRP335, Housing Policy and Governance
  • TRP4161/6211, Issues in Housing
  • TRP6404, Postgraduate Research Methods

PhD Supervision

I am Primary Supervisor for the following research student:

  • Abdulla Difalla, Toward a relational understanding of informal areas in Saudi Arabia
  • MinKi Jeong, The relationship between urban digitisation and creativity in cities
  • Jeni Vine, Building cohesive neighbourhoods: conflict and rank awareness


Latest Book Chapter

Journal Articles

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